- Posted August 15, 2011 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Boot camp: Pick your story
I'm an aspiring journalist and I have chosen to be a part of iReport Boot Camp to highlight a silent epidemic in my community primarily in children through photos.
Obesity is one of the biggest problems facing America today but cultural obesity shows a different perspective into two cultures united by tradition but unhealthy lifestyle choices. The Mexican-American community along the Texas border is a perfect example of a culture that prides itself in family unity at the expense of personal health.
Living along the Texas border, I have had the opportunity to witness and experience how our community socializes. I have come to the realization that everything Hispanics do involves food; whether that consists of cookouts, Bingo nights, football games, parties, or the presence of a new visitor in town. Food and non-stop food intake is everywhere. I understand that America has a problem but when we look at our unique culture, we can conclude that obesity is something that happens because we allow it to happen. It's not a priority to us as individuals nor to our parents. In our culture, people usually cookout about four to five times a week. Instead of getting together to play sports or exercise, we gather around a table and play Bingo while consuming more and more food. It's a problem that's occurring right in front of the Mexican-American community but no one seems to bring it up. Instead parents choose to ignore the problem often times pouring Coke into a bottle for a baby to drink vs. water or milk. That is the start to a life of obesity. The more the kids grow up, the more you see the changes in clothing sizes and figures. In most cases, there are many children in our culture that are about 150 lbs before they turn the age of 15. That is a serious problem because these are the boys and girls that will eventually grow up with many health issues. In our community, many people are diagnosed with diabetes and extremely high cholesterol at an early age. Parents see the dangers but they seem to accept it because in our culture, we still love no matter the size; pushing the advice and guidance aside that can help us become healthier individuals. In our culture, we also enjoy the fattest foods and at times make up our own inventions that involve thousands of calories. Those foods include menudo, tamales, gorditas, tacos, and flour tortillas to name a few. The process of making such foods contains pork lard and plenty of salt. It's a vicious eating cycle setting up children and parents to face long-term health issues that will ultimately affect their own lives and our country.